How to Grow Asparagus

Learn how to grow Asparagus. Asparagus is a wonderful vegetable to add to your gardens. Not only is fresh garden asparagus taste WAY better than the asparagus from the store, the plant is a perennial, and also very easy going, so you can “plant and forget” and enjoy bountiful asparagus harvests for years to come. 

How to Grow Asparagus

Planting asparagus is a wonderful investment for a gardener, though it also requires a lot of patience because you have to wait 2-3 whole years before you can harvest your first full crop.

However, since it is one of very few vegetable perennials, it means your future looks bright –and green- from so much delicious asparagus for years to come.

Once your asparagus is established, you can enjoy these delicious healthy asparagus recipes all spring season.

Growing Asparagus: Position of the Plants:

**In order to grow enough asparagus for a family of four, you need about 50 plants and thus about 250 square feet of land. If possible, the site should be sunny, though they will tolerate some shade (but then will be more susceptible to disease).
**It should be grown in its’ own plot section in the garden because the plants become so tall that they can easily shade plants growing next to them. However, in the first year, the ferns are not very tall yet, so you could plant some crops between the asparagus rows. In the other years, if necessary, you could grow early crops such as radishes and lettuce there as well since they will be harvested before the ferns get too tall.

Growing Asparagus: Propagation:

How to Grow Asparagus

**Most gardeners grow asparagus from one or two year old roots or crowns, from either a local nursery or online (like this one). Try to plant them as soon as possible after purchasing.
**If you live in a warm climate, plant your asparagus in the fall or winter, if possible. In cooler climates, plant them in the early spring, about four weeks before the last average frost date. It is best to prepare the soil the previous fall so have healthier plants. Click here to learn about more early spring garden crops.
**Try to plant asparagus in rows that are spaced four feet apart because these plants have deep running and far-spreading roots that need plenty of space.
**You can also grow asparagus from seed (like these asparagus seeds), though this will take four years to produce a harvest instead of three. However, they will be, in general, more healthy and produce higher yields of crops. It also costs less. Seeds should be started indoors 3-5 months before planting and plant after all danger of frost has passed.

How to Grow Asparagus: Maintenance:

**Remember that asparagus is a perennial, so choose its’ site carefully because it will be permanent.
**This is a hungry plant, so give the soil plenty of compost/manure before planting your crop.
**This plant prefers a soil pH of 6.5-7.5 (this is the soil test that I use).
**Keep a new bed well watered and keep away weeds (which can get their roots tangled in with the asparagus and ruin your crop). Mulching the crop helps keep down weeds and also keeps the soil moist.
**In the first year of planting, a few small asparagus spears will pop up. DO NOT PICK THEM! These spears will grow into the foliage needed to make food for the roots to store that will give you years of large harvests in the future. 
**In the second spring, there will be more spears than the year before. You may pick a few of the ones that are as thick as your finger, but leave most of them once again. Just keep watering and waiting patiently and keep the mulch fresh. You should also give it a fresh dose of compost/manure once a year, most likely in the fall or winter season. A spring feeding with liquid fertilizer (such as fish emulsion) will also help out your plants.
**The worst pest/disease problem for asparagus is the asparagus beetle. You can control them simply by picking them off as they appear. If beetles continue to be a problem, destroy the dead stalks in the fall.

How to Grow Asparagus: Harvesting:

**In the third spring, there will be many spears of asparagus. You may pick any that are finger-size, but stop after a month or six weeks. You can either snap or cut off the spears for harvest, just be careful not to harm new shoots.
**Spears are the tastiest and most tender when the scales are flat against the stalk and have not yet begun to open.
**Always leave a few spears on the plant to allow the plant to recover and gain strength for next year.
**You usually harvest from late April until approx. June 21.
**Asparagus does not keep its flavor long after cutting, but it freezes well.
How to Take Care of Asparagus in the Fall Season

How to Take Care of Your Asparagus in the Fall Season

There is some maintenance you should do to your asparagus garden bed in the fall season to help with the health of your plants. Asparagus is really easy going, and you can ignore them for the most part. However, if you want an amazing asparagus harvest in the spring, you should take care of your asparagus in the fall.

Here’s how to take care of your asparagus in the fall:

1. Wait until the asparagus turns completely brown.

By fall, your tall asparagus fronds will be flopping all over the place. The temptation will be HUGE to trim them back. However, you must wait until the asparagus plants are brown before you cut them.

If you cut them too soon, you will reduce your next year’s harvest.

2. Cut the asparagus plants to 2 inches above the ground.

Once the asparagus fronds have completely turned brown and brittle, cut them with some good garden shears to about 2 inches above the ground.

Do not put the trimmed off parts into your compost pile (learn how to make compost here). The asparagus beetle eggs overwinter inside the cut stalks, and you don’t want to encourage those pests. So place those asparagus plant trimmings in the trash!

3. Top the cleaned asparagus bed with compost.

It’s always a good idea to give your asparagus a nutrient boost and some new soil to expand and grow in. As the years progress, the soil in those beds gets compacted, so keep it topped off to help your plants out.

4. Then add 4-6 inches of mulch on top of the asparagus beds.

You don’t have to get fancy with your mulch. I use chopped up leaves (which are easily available in my yard during the fall) to make a layer of mulch on my asparagus. You could also use straw, pine needles, or other natural and organic mulches. 

Mulching your asparagus plants gives the crowns extra protection from freezing temperatures. I have also found that a good, thick mulch helps keep the weeds down, which is the most challenging part of growing asparagus for me (so many weeds!).

That’s it! Your asparagus plants will then be happy and healthy and ready to give you huge harvests in the upcoming spring. One nice thing about the asparagus beds is that they often don’t turn brown until the first hard frost, so you can wait to clean up the asparagus beds until later in the fall season. That leaves more time for harvesting produce and other fall garden tasks! 

Do YOU have an Asparagus patch in your garden? 

**If so, how is it going for you? How long have you been harvesting?

**If not, do you plan on growing them this year? Why or why not?

**Don’t forget to check out these Healthy Asparagus Recipes for kitchen inspiration!

Also check out these seasonal recipes:

Enjoy these Spring Gardening Tips:


How to Grow Asparagus

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